Shiva Rea – Surf Yoga Soul [DVD]   (DVD – 2010)
Shiva Rea’s Surf Yoga Soul was released in 2009 as a distillation of Rea’s ten years teaching Yoga to surfers. The action is set in various exotic beach and surf style locations and is acommpanied by music appropriate to the practice. The DVD is arranged into a series of seven segments of varying style and intensity with surfer Alex Smith and Yogi Micheline Berry joining Rea for some of the practice. You can work through the practices in order, or you can mix and match according to time, energy and fitness constraints.
The first section ‘Wave Meditation’ (9 min.) comprises of “surf yoga pop ups” and free f lowmovements; Mandala Namaskar (12 Min.) is a side and back bending circular sequence followed by Agni Namaskar (17 min.) which is a forward bending sequence that incorporates 108 pushups in 9 rounds!
Pranayama is included in the section called Breath Wave which gives 5 minutes focusing on ujjayi and 3 part Yoga breath.
Balance Flow (20 min.) is a sequence of leg and arm balancing poses which includes some challenging postures not usually often found in Yoga DVDs. including warrior 3, side plank, twised chair to a twisted crow pose. By contrast, Flexibility Flow (11 min.) as you might expect focusses on – a nice segment that starts with shoushoulder and hip stretches. The DVD finishes off with a short Shavasana (2 min.).
I have used this DVD for around 6 months now as the principal strengthening section of my home Yoga practice because I wanted to increase my upper body strength and core stability. Consistent practising of Agni Namaskar has certainly developed my arm, shoulder and upper back strength and I believe that it has helped to get rid of a nagging minor upper back pain that I had been suffering.
The ‘press ups’ are arranged in three sequences of three sets of 12, and I monitor my progress by seeing how many full sets of full press ups I can manage. I’m also currently focussing on Flexibility Flow, which although short, comprises effective deep stretching of the shoulders and hips – I need to work on my shoulder flexibility and I love hip work. Mandala Namaskar still confuses me, I either have to surrender and follow, or 100% focus otherwise I end up the wrong way round…..nevertheless it is an absolutely gorgeous series of strong leg work and side bending in flowing Warrior style postures, squats and bows.
Overall Surf Yoga Soul is a beautifully produced, flexible DVD that would suit people of a moderate fitness level and some experience of Yoga. It is perfect for developing upper body and core strength and flexibility, but you do have to practice it consistently to reap these benefits. I’d also recommend it to those who are looking to free up their practice and their joints from some of the more form focussed styles of asana practice.
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